Concord Grape Syrup

There’s a world of difference between an unhappy accident and a happy accident. An unhappy accident is, well, not the kind of accident you talk about on a food blog; a happy accident, on the other hand, results in a sweet treat that you never expected, like Concord grape syrup.

The intention was to make Concord grape sorbet. Have you ever had Concord grape anything? If you haven’t, you are really missing out. Concord grapes, unlike normal grapes, have a world of flavor locked inside; they taste deep, like a profound thought, and you wonder why all grapes don’t taste like Concord grapes. Then you bemoan the fact that Concord grapes are only around for a short, short time and you try to preserve them a little bit by making a jam or, in my case, a sorbet.

Here they are, fresh from the Sunday market here in Park Slope that springs up on 3rd Street and 5th Ave.


Following my friend David’s instructions for Concord grape sorbet (in his fantastic ice cream/sorbet book, The Perfect Scoop) I put the Concord grapes in a pot and let them cook on a light heat:


Soon they gave up their juices and it was time to strain them. I did and then added the requisite amount of corn syrup, which I suppose David uses because of the way it helps the sorbet come together in the ice cream maker.

Only: I tasted, at this point, and it was really not that flavorful. I blame not David’s recipe, but the grapes themselves. They’d been sitting around a few days (I was forgetful) and so perhaps they lost some of their zing. I have a theory, though, about frozen desserts: if the base doesn’t taste good, the frozen dessert will taste worse. That’s because the process of pumping air into it won’t elongate the flavor, it’ll subtract from the flavor while improving the texture.

So I had a choice: take a chance, put the base in the fridge, make the sorbet and hope for the best OR add a ton of sugar, put it back on the stove and make a syrup.

I chose option B. I added about 3/4 cup of sugar (maybe less) and stirred it around, turned up the heat, and let it boil, boil, boil. After about 10 minutes it boiled down to a viscous syrup.

And that was it! I poured it into a clean jar, my Concord grape syrup:


I served it that night, as you see at the top of this post, on vanilla ice cream. It goes surprisingly well—it’s a flavor you’re not expecting, but the creaminess of the ice cream and the fruitiness of the grape syrup are a natural match. In the near future, I plan to buy some seltzer and add the syrup to that to make a Concord grape soda. And maybe I could even add a little vodka and make a Concord grape cocktail. Or a lot of vodka which I’d drink all at once, tearing up the town, and wetting my pants.

That’d be a happy accident-inspired unhappy accident. But if the scandal boosted my book sales, it’d be a happy accident all over again.

Here’s to having a happy accident of your own.

6 thoughts on “Concord Grape Syrup”

  1. mmm! or the syrup with some seltzer AND vodka and a squeeze of lime perhaps. Is it wrong that I want one of these and its only 2:30?

  2. No Megan that is not wrong at all. I wouldn’t mind having one myself, sounds refreshing. Adam is good at making you want whatever it is he is writing about. I think he does it to torture us. And he enjoys it. :P

  3. Adam, I’ve got to tell you – the club soda/vodka/grape syrup cocktail is a great idea. How do I know? I’m drinking one right now! I read your post before I went to the market at lunch, and there were concord grapes. CLEARLY it was kismet. *sip* Delicious. Thanks for the idea!

  4. I LOVE concord grapes. So much that I can eat them by the containerful. I eat the seeds, skin and everything! I will have to try this.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top